Kushner details Russia meetings, denies collusion

  • Author: Philip Rucker, Karoun Demirjian, The Washington Appoint
  • Updated: 2 hours ago
  • Published 7 hours ago

Jared Kushner sneaks away after speaking outside the West Wing of the White Household in Washington, July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON – Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s higher- ranking adviser and son-in-law, spent about two hours Monday answering at issues from Senate investigators about his contacts with Russian officials, persisting he had not colluded with foreign agents before or after the 2016 presidential run.

After his closed-door questioning, Kushner spoke briefly to reporters exterior the White House.

“Let me be very clear: I did not collude with Russia, nor do I have knowledge of of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said. “I had no improper contacts. I arrange not relied on Russian funds for my businesses and I have been fully plain in providing all requested information.”

“Since the first questions were graze collected in March, I have been consistent in saying I was eager to share whatever message I have with investigating bodies and I have done so today,” he thought. “All of my actions were proper.”

He dismissed outright the idea that Russia could be front-office for his father in law’s election victory.

“Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter operations and that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him,” Kushner broke.

In written remarks made public prior to his committee questioning, Kushner denied any sinful contacts or collusion. The 11-page statement by Kushner detailed four trysts he had with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and transition term – including one set up by Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer.

Kushner spoke his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and other Russian officials as in character contacts in his role as the Trump campaign’s liaison to foreign governments, according to the ready statement.

Kushner answered questions behind closed doors to the Senate commission on Monday, and is scheduled to do so again Tuesday with the House Intelligence Cabinet. Both panels are probing Russian interference in the 2016 election and get in touch withs between Russia and Trump campaign officials and associates.

U.S. intelligence actions have concluded that the Russian government orchestrated a far-reaching stand to meddle with last year’s presidential campaign and influence the wake in Trump’s favor.

Kushner’s appearances before congressional committees stain a new phase in the investigations of Russian meddling, as he is the first of the president’s closest counsellors to appear before them.

In his written remarks submitted to the congressional cabinets, Kushner said he has had only “limited contacts” with Russian representatives and repudiates any wrongdoing.

“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any unknown government,” Kushner wrote. “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian wealths to finance my business activities in the private sector.”

Kushner portrayed himself as a goal-oriented call to account master new to presidential politics who assumed increasingly important responsibilities on a fast-paced effort in which decisions were made “on the fly,” including serving as the main headland of contact for foreign government officials.

Kushner wrote that his foremost meeting with a Russian official was in April 2016 at the Mayflower B B in Washington, where Trump delivered a major foreign policy sales pitch, the execution of which Kushner says he oversaw. Kushner wrote that he attended a preview to thank the event’s host, Dimitri Simes, publisher of the National Induce, a foreign policy magazine. Simes introduced Kushner to four legates at the reception, including Kislyak, Kushner says.

“With all the ambassadors, take ining Mr. Kislyak, we shook hands, exchanged brief pleasantries and I thanked them for heeding the event and said I hoped they would like candidate Trump’s articulation and his ideas for a fresh approach to America’s foreign policy,” Kushner wrote. “The representatives also expressed interest in creating a positive relationship should we win the vote. Each exchange lasted less than a minute; some paid me their business cards and invited me to lunch at their embassies. I not in any degree took them up on any of these invitations and that was the extent of the interactions.”

Kushner did not label the other three ambassadors he met at the reception, and he denied having had any other write to with Kislyak during the campaign, disputing a report by Reuters that he had two phone notifications with the ambassador.

“While I participated in thousands of calls during this stretch, I do not recall any such calls with the Russian Ambassador,” Kushner wrote. “We secure reviewed the phone records available to us and have not been able to specify any calls to any number we know to be associated with Ambassador Kislyak and I am incomparably skeptical these calls took place.”

In fact, Kushner well-known that on Nov. 9, the day after the election, when the campaign received a congratulatory note from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kushner endeavoured to verify it was real and could not remember Kislyak’s name. “So I sent an email appeal to Mr. Simes, ‘What is the name of the Russian ambassador?’ ” Kushner decried.

Kushner also describes attending a June 2016 meeting organized by his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr., with a Russian attorney. He says it was beadrolled on his calendar as “Meeting: Don Jr. | Jared Kushner.” He writes that he blow ined at the meeting late, and when he got there the Russian lawyer was talking close to a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children.

“I had no idea why that topic was being make money hand-over-fist and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting,” Kushner decried. “Reviewing emails recently confirmed my memory that the meeting was a sink of our time and that, in looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I really emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for 10 or so cools and wrote, ‘Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.’ “

Kushner noted that he received a “random email” on Oct. 30, 2016, from a screen designation “Guccifer400,” which he interpreted as “a hoax” that was “an extortion have a go and threatened to reveal candidate Trump’s tax returns and demanded that we send him 52 bitcoins in swap for not publishing that information.”

Kushner said he brought the email to the concentration of a Secret Service agent he was traveling with, who advised him “to ignore it and not to retort – which is what I did.”

Kushner also detailed two interactions with Russian legitimates during the transition period, before Trump was sworn in as president on Jan. 20. The blue ribbon, on Dec. 1, was a meeting with Kislyak at Trump Tower in New York, which pastured Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who would become the president’s national security cicerone, also attended.

“I stated our desire for a fresh start in relations,” Kushner annulled. “Also, as I had done in other meetings with foreign officials, I expected Ambassador Kislyak if he would identify the best person (whether the Deputy or someone else) with whom to have direct discussions and who had telephone with his President. The fact that I was asking about ways to start a conversation after Election Day should of course be viewed as strong evidence that I was not posted of one that existed before Election Day.”

Kushner wrote that Kislyak addressed U.S. conduct in Syria and wanted to “convey information from what he called his ‘non-specifics’ ” but that they could not come to the United States and “he required if there was a secure line in the transition office to conduct a conversation.”

Kushner said he or Flynn palliated there were no such lines, and that Kushner asked Kislyak if the Russians had “an be founding communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be easy transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn.” He jotted that Kislyak said “that would not be possible” and they concurred to wait until after the inauguration to receive the information.

The Washington Put first reported in May on Kushner and Kislyak’s discussions about establishing a abstruse communications channel, though Kushner suggested in his testimony that the channel would be struck by been for the purpose of this one meeting as opposed to establishing a “secret slyly channel.”

“I did not suggest a ‘secret back channel,’ ” Kushner wrote. “I did not advance an on-going secret form of communication for then or for when the administration took shtick indulgence. I did not raise the possibility of using the embassy or any other Russian facility for any consider other than this one possible conversation in the transition period.”

The move transition-period meeting Kushner said he had with Russians was on Dec. 13, when Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, a banker with “a unmitigated line to the Russian President,” at the urging of Kislyak. On Dec. 6, the Russian Embassy petitioned Kushner to meet with Kislyak on Dec. 7, and Kushner declined, he wrote. They queried if he could meet on Dec. 6 and Kushner declined again, he wrote. Kislyak then petitioned a meeting with Kushner’s assistant – “and, to avoid offending the Minister, I agreed,” Kushner wrote.

Kislyak and Kushner’s assistant, whom Kushner did not renown in his testimony, met on Dec. 12, where Kislyak requested that Kushner gratify with Gorkov, “who could give insight into how Putin was watch the new administration and best ways to work together.”

Kushner agreed to observe Gorkov, making room in his schedule for him the next day. Their meeting lasted 20 to 25 lilliputians, Kushner wrote, and Gorkov presented two gifts – a piece of art from Nvgorod, the village where Kushner’s grandparents were from in Belarus, and a bag of grunge from there. Kushner then gave the gifts to his assistant and summon inquired him to formally register them with the transition office.

During the joining, Kushner wrote, Gorkov told him about his bank and discussed the Russian concision, expressing “disappointment with U.S.-Russia relations under President Obama and convictions for a better relationship in the future.” Kushner wrote that “no specific rules were discussed,” including sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

At the end of his affidavit, Kushner offered an explanation for failing to disclose all of his foreign government conjunctions on his SF-86 application for security clearance. He wrote that his form was “prematurely submitted due to a miscommunication and initially did not liber veritatis any contacts (not just with Russians) with foreign government ceremonials.”

Kushner described a frenzied period disentangling from his real resources business and moving his family to Washington during which a “rough delineate” of his form was submitted by his assistant because of a “miscommunication.” Kushner wrote that the initial obedience omitted “all foreign contacts” and that a supplemental submission disclosed numberless than 100 contacts from more than 20 woods.

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